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Old 08-02-2006, 05:37   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Boat: Hans Christian Christina (40') in March 09
Posts: 198
Valiant factory tour

Since I have this week off between jobs, I called up to Gordonville Texas and asked if I could take the factory tour.

Ok I feel wow'd..... Hand crafted boats with lots of teak, mahogany and cedar, made for a few people with lots of money......

We toured the layup facility where they were about 1/2 way through the fiberglass layup of 42'. Got to see all the mat, moven roving and other material they create the hull from. They mix thier resin in gallon or 5 gallon batches as needed to control the quality and then a crew of 3 or 4 guys hand layup and roll each piece. Hull thickness near the side below the deck is laid up to 1/2 to 3/4" depending on locations and may be as much as 2" in the middle of the hull at the port-starboard 'seam'. Though there is only a seam in the form as the whole things is laidup as one piece. The deck is laid up as one solid peice with a combination of marine grade plywood and heavy duty insulation and some balsa. Before the deck is mounted to the hull they cut in all the ports and holes larger than required and then glass them into the proper dimensions to seal and reinforce everything.

After that, we passed into the painting area... Interesting enough each hull and deck is actually grey before they prime and paint it.

We stopped by the engineering office and got to look at all the cored sections, parts and pieces that have been removed to help understand the design connections. It shows off a lot of the the stuff that you would not normally be able to see like the deck-hull joint (bolted every 4" through a lap and sealed covered with a teak or aluminium toe rail, glassed over on the inside), bow section core ( taken out for the installation of a bow thruster), short section of the top of the mast (1/4" aluminium, keel stepped with a seperate 1" PVC conduit for all the electrical wire and halyards inside to prevent noise and snags inside).

Then a jaunt through the machine shop where they fabricate all the metal work for the boat. They had an aluminium mast that had arrived in two sections and they had just finished welding the two sections together and grinding it down. They were just getting ready to weld two mast halyard plates. All the stainless steel was polished, not annodized or galvanized. Skeg and rudder both have a stainless steel internal structure that is assembled between two halves of said item and then filled with a combination of resin and foam to make it solid.

Finally over to the assembly shop where all the interior componets such as the engine mounts, bulkheads, electrical, plumbing etc, are built in to the hull by cabinet makers and then glassed into place for strength. Then the deck gets mounted and installed. Then they install all the fuel tanks, water tanks, engine, generator, etc THROUGH the companion way stairs. So you know it can be removed later on the same way if need be, without destroying anything (hopefully)

Lastly a short walk down to Lake Texoma and a visit aboard several completed 42 footers... One of the boats was destined for Lake Michigan and had a dual raw water intake and strainer for the engine due to the prevalence of things like plastic bags.

Cost for a 42 footer complete and ready to sail costal or weekend ~$300k, sail costal not quite off shore ~$450k. This being said remember that a lot of folks who buy these boats have a lot of big ticket items added for comfort like; AC/HEAT, dual heads, generator, 110 volt system, lots of very expensive electronics, etc. The good news is that if you choose to buy one, they will work with you to make interior design changes to suit you. The tour took about 3-4 hours and was very through. We enjoyed it a lot, it will be quite a while before I could get one.

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